Category Archives: crochet

What Caption Would You Add To This Hilarious (Crochet) Picture?


This post was originally published Nov 6, 2010 on my other blog: The Difference Between A Duck.  I thought maybe it deserved some attention here.  Yeah, kinda makes sense.


This is a photo of Laurie Wheeler (Fearless Leader of the CLF) and I at Pinch Knitter Yarns during the Crochet Liberation Front‘s 2010 Conference/Retreat at Cama. Bill, fabulous crocheter, photographer and husband of free-form crochet designer Bonnie Pierce, was snapping photos of everyone. And this shot was in the mix!

“Good Lord,” I said when I first saw it on Facebook. “What happened to my face!”

I know what it is.  That’s the look I get on my face when I’m concentrating. And thinking back, I’m guessing I was focusing in on her words since I’ve trouble hearing in groups. But anyway, since then Laurie, Bonnie and I have supposed on what caption could be put with this photo – related to crochet, yarn, the CLF and our retreat.

"My yarn is not going to be there when I wake up, will it..."

My favorites so far are:
“You’re going to steal my yarn while I’m sleeping, aren’t you…..” and
“Seriously? Since when is there a limit of only five? I’m not giving one up!”
“I’m not hiding anything….”

Maybe: “This is not the yarn you’re looking for….?”

Bonnie added: “Yea…. I DO have enough money to pay for my cabin! You can’t make me put them back!!”

I love it! What captions would you come up with? 😀


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Filed under crochet, Crochet Community, Humor

An Aberrant “Obey Crochet” Holiday Give Away!


Oh look!  I was a poet and didn’t know it!

Well, welcome back my crochet friends!  Happy Holidays!

I know, I know….  I was writing so consistently and then dropped off.  It’s the season for working though, you know.  This is the time of year when warm things are in demand!  I’ll let you know when I master typing with my ears while I crochet.  Send me any tips if you have them!  LOL!  Oh and then of course one by one the family units got sick.  And fight as I did, I finally caught it too.  I know you know how it is!

But, now I’m getting back on my feet just in time for the holidays.  It’s also dear hubby’s and my anniversary today!  (16 years!  Do you know how much I love him?)

It’s me and Obey Crochet!  Cooking up some fun for you!

So I’m ready to celebrate, drink some wine, enjoy some chocolate, have some fun and spring a holiday celebration giveaway surprise that Stephanie a.k.a. Obey Crochet and I cooked up!  We’re doing a blog giveaway! YAY!

Yes!  ‘Tis true!  And trust me, you’ll covet this one!  If you haven’t met Obey Crochet just yet, please do so by visiting my interview with her here!

“Yay! What awesomeness will we win?” you ask?  Well I’ll tell you!

It’s our pleasure to bring this crochet unique giveaway to you, my fellow crochet lover!  One lucky winner will receive a FREE, signed… (did you see that? … a signed!) …  Obey Crochet print.  Of your choice!  Of ANY one Obey Crochet Drawing that you love!  Shipped to you!

Can you believe it?! 

OMG I’m jealous, because I’m disqualified from this giveaway.  They will also get random Obey Crochet buttons and rub on tats.  How cool is that!  Don’t you just love it!  😀

“How!  How can we win?” you ask?

Alright, so down to the business stuff… please read carefully!
First of all, this giveaway is uniquely open to USA as well as International crochet fans!  Yes!  We are not excluding our friends from overseas!

There is only ONE mandatory way to enter…
First, you must subscribe to both Aberrant Crochet and Obey Crochet blogs.  Next, go to Obey Crochet’s website, look at her vast collection of drawings and decide which one is your favorite.  Then, come back here and leave a comment on this giveaway blog post stating that you are following both blogs (we’ll check), along with a note about which Obey Crochet signed drawing you are most excited to win!  (One of my personal favorites is “Potentially Pirate,” along with Obey Crochet’s original “Co-Dependent.”  Oh and then of course there’s “Only Child,” “My Shadow Puppets Are Better,” and “All I Need Is One Hook.” And then there’s…..  I know – how can you possibly choose just one?! But in the end, if you win, you will have to!)
Last but not least, share the link to this giveaway with your crochet savvy friends!
Limit ONE entry per person.
OH and HEY! Post your Twitter ID and blog address in your comment and I’ll follow you back!  How’s that for a deal?

PLEASE NOTE…
1. You have just over ONE WEEK to enter…
2. Giveaway will close Sunday, January 1, 2012 at 9am CST.  (Yes, we gave you fudge room even after the New Year’s celebration!)
3. A winner will be chosen via random.org later in the day on January 1, 2012.
4. I will announce the winner on my blog shortly after (so come back to check!)
5. Please be sure to have your email address linked to your comment or there is no way for me to contact you!
And that’s it!

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!   😀   MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAVE FUN!
Oh, and disclaimer: I have not received any monetary compensation for putting on this giveaway.  This is purely for fun!  I mean, just in case you’re wondering.  They say it’s always good to be clear about these things.  So, there you have it… clear?  We love you!  Enjoy!

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Filed under Artist Information & Notes, crochet, Crochet Community, Giveaway

How Much Are You Worth?


What is the true cost of handmade items at a show?  I’m not really talking about taking a bead and sticking it on an ear wire. There’s almost no training or skill involved in that.  There’s not much honing of a craft going on there.  Though it does take time to assemble, it’s small and not considered skilled labor.

How much do you make an hour for your expertise?  How much should a hand crafter make per hour?  What is right for a living wage?  It’s easy to forget sometimes the nature of how some jobs work.  In many jobs, you get paid a set wage + benefits.  Some jobs involve a commission, which is generally highly taxed by the government even if it is really what you feed yourself with.  Other jobs, like waiting tables, are often half of minimum wage with the expectation that you will make up the rest in tips.  That was a rude awakening when I landed my first waiting job right out of college.  I was taxed out of my $2.13 an hour each week as if it were twice that, because it’s assumed I would make up the other half of minimum wage on tips.  And I didn’t.  Sigh, those were the days.

So how much should a hand crafter make?  Well, one obvious thing to consider is the cost of table fees to get into the show in the first place.  Just here in Austin, there are shows that range from $40 a table to over $3000.  It’s a chunk of change, and somewhat of a gamble playing the odds whether you will sell something at the venue or not.  Space rental is not cheap.  Neither is security, electricity or many other expenses people might not think of.  If you take credit cards, you have expenses there as well.

You have the cost of materials as overhead.  When it comes to yarn, it’s interesting to me that so many buyers really have no idea how much yarn can cost these days.  To buy enough to create a garment is a pretty substantial chunk.  Are we using “That Old 70’s Yarn?”  Or something nicer like silk or cashmere or even a microfiber?  Either way, it’s way more now than it was when I was a kid.

Then there’s the amount of materials as well.  Just because a hat you find at WalMart cost $5 doesn’t mean it has a comparable amount of fiber in it to something handmade.  Nor does it mean the yarn can be purchased in the US for so little either.  Where many often use one yarn for a design, I often use three myself.  So that’s a jump in cost for me.  Plus there’s the value of other elements, like antique buttons or sterling silver findings.

And then we come to the aspect of time and of skill.  What would you pay an expert to do and what would you pay a beginner?  There should be a difference.  There’s something to be said for a skill that has been honed over time.  Because the quality of labor is much different.  Why should an expert be paid the same as a beginner?  There’s a reason why we pay doctors what we do, they are highly educated, trained and skilled.

But let’s say we have a beginner.  Federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.  Even people receiving training to flip burgers get at least minimum wage.  If an item requires $30 of materials and takes 4 hours to make, you have at minimum a $59 item, before taxes.  Right?  What if you decide not to charge minimum wage?  Even at $5 an hour (a minimum suggestion from Crochet Liberation Front founder, Laurie Wheeler), you still have a $50 price tag.  At minimum.  For beginner grade work.

I like some points Laurie made on this subject in previous years on the Crochet Liberation Front forum, “The best way I know of raising the value of anything, is to value it yourself.” 

Followed up in her article last year “At What Price?” Laurie has this to say:

“FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS FUZZY DO NOT…and I repeat…DO NOT UNDERSELL YOUR WORK!!  …. Materials + Time x Skill = $$…. Time is valuable. Especially in today’s fast paced world, time is PRECIOUS, your time is VALUABLE. If you spend 2hrs on a  hat and you spent $3 on the materials and you only charge $4.00, $3.00 covers the materials and you just made FIFTY CENTS an hour. Really?  You are not a SWEATSHOP…You are WORTH more than that… “

Also, I’ve heard many women make comments that should never be made, like: “Oh but I enjoy doing this so I don’t charge very much.”  WHAT? Seriously? Did I just hear that?  SO you should only get paid for what you don’t derive a sense of satisfaction from?  (I’ve never heard a man say something like this, btw.)  If you’ve ever been guilty of saying something like that, stop and consider the craziness of what you’re suggesting.  Not to mention how it undervalues the work of all hand crafters when you do that, including the ones who rely on selling their wares to put food on the table.  Just because you don’t have to rely on it to feed your kids, doesn’t mean you should undersell your work.

Factors to keep in mind as you consider pricing also include rarity, how labor intensive, precision of the work, and expertise and range of experience. Some items, you’ll have to judge.  You may have to tweak your prices or process a bit here and there.  Just because you are capable of making wash cloths out of cashmere doesn’t mean it’s practical and that everyone will buy one for what it’s worth or at all.  Hmmm… So maybe there’s a cap there somewhere on what kind of materials you expect to use for what items and the price range most of your customers will fall into?

There’s also travel time, packing materials and postage.  If I’m doing custom orders and find myself driving all over town from yarn shop to yarn shop trying to find what will make my customer happy, it becomes an expense that has to be accounted for, because they want a custom item and not something I have ready to go.  And it requires me to take time off from my regular business and work only for them until they get what they want.  That can be a lot of time, especially if they don’t really know what they want or it’s difficult to secure!  Think about the fees you would pay a graphic artist when you don’t have a clear idea of what you want.  Usually you get one or two proofs and that’s it.  Consider that custom handmade should not be much different.

So when you’re pricing, you have a lot to consider for variables.  And once you have that, stick with it and do not let buyers bargain with you.  Not only is it poor form at shows, but when you do it, you give people permission to essentially cut your pay!  Set a fair and reasonable price, based on the variables we’re discussing and decide ahead of the show how you will deal with such requests.  If you want to offer a discount for multiple purchases, that can be nice, but price your individual items accordingly so you are still coming out on top in the end. Do not stoop to the rude folks either.  They are not your market.  Be polite, but do not waste your time on them.  You want to know at the end of the year, after all those last-minute material purchases and all the time invested and you sit down to do those taxes, that it was worth it.  If you never stand up for yourself, who will?

Now that you’ve read all this and taken stock, how much are you worth?  Think about it and add to the discussion in the comments!  😀

Go ahead and click a link below to “share this.”  You know you want to!  : )


If you enjoyed this article, you might also like:

Dear Artists: Your Prices Are Not The Problem – Or Are They?

When Artists Hear “I Can Make That!

Cro-pocalypse: The Rise of Crochet


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Filed under Business, crochet, Crochet Community, Crochet Education, Doing the Show Circuit

The Tiniest Crochet Hook Made These!


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Aside from the tiny antique crochet hook in the next photo, pliers and these other tools were necessary to create this look. The wooden crochet hook helped block the lace loops.  Pliers helped pull the needle as needed to tie in threads.

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I not only put together this skull cameo, but crocheted lace around the cameo frame by crocheting directly onto it.

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This is the tiniest crochet hook I’ve ever owned along with the tiny butterfly pendant I crocheted with it. I don’t know a lot about this kind of hook, but I am blessed to own a few. I know they are antique, precisely hand-cut and made in England. And they are the best quality hooks of this tiny size I’ve found. The handle says No. 9, which doesn’t seem to have anything to do with modern crochet hook sizes.  But I estimate this to be maybe a size 16 or smaller??

These butterflies were created by crocheting around a tiny tag like this one, with my tiny antique hook.

It took me about 45 minutes, start to finish, to crochet, secure and finish off one of these. So how much would you think they are worth? What would you charge for one? I plan to put a jump ring on each of these and crochet chokers for each to hang from. But I’m considering the idea of offering some up by themselves. Maybe earrings. Not sure yet.

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Filed under crochet, Crochet Patterns

Eye See You! It’s What’s On My Hook Today!


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Eye See You!

Want to know what I’m up to right now? Well this monster flower is what’s on my hook today.  I’m not sure where he’s going just yet.  I’m crocheting madly trying to get ready for Austin Craft Riot this coming weekend.  Just wish I’d had more time this summer to be better prepared. 
(I’m still not moved and right now I don’t want to talk about it.)

Here are some of the bookmarks I made last week as well.  I’ve got spiders and skulls too.  You know me, can’t make exactly the same thing twice.  The clockwork bookmark isn’t done yet.

I still need to find just the right sprocket for it.  Most of the buttons are vintage from Grandma Dot and Grandma Leona’s collections.  A couple from when my teens were babies.

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Crochet Bookmarks

Anyway, so it’s past time to work on tags and business cards and such lovely things.  I was going to practice my booth setup this weekend, but it didn’t happen.  Somehow other chores and business won out, along with computer work.  I can multi-task on a computer fairly well.  Like now, I have 20+ windows open on my computer and I’m managing them all.  Yes I am. I’m working on this post, organizing our bills, replying to tweets, writing a newsletter for my group, getting a template ready for tags and emailing folks on my list. No it’s not instantaneous, but it will all happen fairly fluidly as long as I’m not interrupted.

Why doesn’t being a taxi for my kids and the other mundane things in life work like that?  Where’s my driver, secretary and maid?

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Filed under Artist Information & Notes, crochet

Meet Obey Crochet! – Blog Interview


I want to introduce you to someone I know you will enjoy!

Way back in late spring I came across one of Obey Crochet’s cartoons on Flickr and was literally hooked! I felt like she had crawled into my mind and pulled out my most obscure thoughts of crochet madness and made them funny!

Immediately I just had to get to know this fellow Texan crocheting chic and talk her into making a t-shirt! I didn’t care if anyone else wanted one – I wanted it for me! Stationary too! Like yesterday already!  crochet joy

She only had a handful of drawings up, but darn it if I wasn’t already a fan, hook-line-and-sinker.  I dragged her onto Ravelry and told all my friends (even the ones who just don’t understand this crochet thing I’ve got goin’ on).  I just loved her and wanted everyone else to as well.  She even drew something I could use for one of my previous blog posts this summer “Tech Help For Crafters.”  I also put her in touch with Laurie and she designed the Mascot for the Crochet Liberation Front “Crochet @Cama” 2011 Retreat!

I knew immediately the day I found her drawings that I wanted to interview this chic.  Finally I asked and graciously she accepted.

I’ve been saving this blog interview, waiting for the right moment to share her with the world, when she wouldn’t have to share the pedestal with someone else or some other event.  But now it’s time!

So with the enthusiasm of Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear, here she is ladies and gentlemen – I know you’ll love her too!  Ms. Stephanie Toppin!  a.k.a. Obey Crochet!


Ms. Obey Crochet

1. How did you get into crochet?

My mother, who does not consider all the things she does a skill, but just a basic knowledge. I was about 8 when she showed me crochet and it awakened in me three years ago for fun and a determination to learn patterns and not just wing it.

2. What is the story behind your website Obey Crochet and your crochet drawings?

Frustration. Mostly frustration. I felt the pains of being a second class citizen while creating a public art project using crochet. People were allowed to come and watch as we labored for art and many expressed their love for my choice of craft which they all assumed was knitting. For everyone to admire what you do and then call it something else, it’s like a gorilla tap dancing on your forehead, über annoying. Off to the internet for some type of rescue to show off my crochet pride!

The crochet community existed but there was nothing that suited my dry, tongue in cheek, silly behavior. “I heart crochet” was not going to cut it. I had the idea of “Codependent” and on a Friday night I sketched, on a Saturday morning I drew what turned into 12 drawings. I uploaded them to my Flickr and ideas kept flooding me so I indulged them.

Obey Crochet was born in less than a fortnight as the first website I constructed. I bought a tote bag and some iron on sheets and made a bag that I still carry. It happened so sudden and it’s less than a year old but it was the first thing that just clicked and I never questioned. Fun factor for me? Bajillion times awesome.

3. I hear you’re from Houston, TX! How would you describe the Houston craft scene?

I’m new to the “craft scene”, most people know me as a painter. I have always been crafty but it was more for hanging out at craft fairs, things for friend’s birthdays, Christmas, and junk to spoil their kids with some handmade goodness. It was just a personal release. From what I have come across now after getting more involved, it seems to be huge. I have heard of dozens of craft groups and I think the only down fall is that they don’t know about each other. Houston is a huge city, it’s sometimes tricky to make bridges beyond your area.

4. Can you tell me about your day? What other hats besides “Obey Crochet” do you wear?

Up at 6:30a. Lay in bed, check email, twitter, WordPress from phone. Shower, dress, eat at work. I work at a small local IT company, all guys except my boss. I do graphic design, HR, assistance, work with soap, random tasks while tolerating my male coworkers. I mostly eat cereal and yogurt with local honey. I have allergies. I go home 6ish, sometimes later. Come home, draw, take photos, scan. I paint, or make banners, work on cake sketches, upload an Obey Crochet drawing, work on my other blogs (Fabricandlines, Art Keeps Me Poor) do a proposals for art galleries while listening to podcasts, over 80 of them. I stay up until midnight/1ish most days. And then do it again. I volunteer, I drink beer, I use to ride my bike more, I thrift in my spare time for awesome things like huge brides maids skirts.

5. Quick! What are 5 random things about yourself that others might not know?

I have an afro, I love it. I’m making a unicorn cake for a soon to be 6 year old (hope that’s right). My family is West Indian. I never use LOL. I don’t know how to follow directions.

6. What’s your favorite drawing and/or crochet project so far? A favorite yarn or hook?

I really like roving yarn, I love the way it feels and looks. My heart leaps for it. Hooks? I like the way wooden ones feel more than metal, although when my hands get sweaty the cool metal is nice (sorry, too much info).

Favorite drawing…? “My shadow puppet is better than yours.” It’s silly and ridiculous; it was one of the firsts that were on Flickr. It makes me laugh really hard which is weird and awkward and awesome. I tend to use awesome too much. And to ramble.

7. Artists and crafters seem to be in constant pursuit of the perfect work-room! What is one thing about your current work space now that you like and what is one thing you would wish for in a dream work space?

I like that I have a workspace. I just moved and the old digs had my workspace as my bed in a 9 x9 room. Now I have a spare room and I love that it has French Doors, but I love more that it is a room without my bed in it. For the space, I really wish I had shelves. There is no point grudgingly wishing for grand things when all I need are some shelves.  Cinder blocks and wood would be grand. Everything on the floor is really not assisting the flow.

8. Where can people buy your stuff and/or meet you? Shows, venues, etc.? Are t-shirts available yet?

I’m mostly at a taco truck near Shepherd and Alabama in Houston, but I am usually at a craft store somewhere in the loop. If you are local, you know what that means. I plan to go to all the upcoming craft fairs in Austin and the quilt show in Houston. No booths, just me, I have big hair, I’m easy to spot. I’ll give you a free button or a rub on tattoo.

[She’s going to be at Austin Craft Riot a week from today, along with the yarn bombing freebies she donated!]

I currently have a Cafepress store and yes we have shirts, we even have shot glasses. My goal is to get all the drawings on some type of item in the upcoming weeks. Check back for new uploads all the time.

9. Would you share with readers one valuable piece of advice someone gave you that has helped you or one that you have gained from hands-on experience yourself?

My boss shared what a professor once told her: 
Talent is not that rare. Discipline is rare. The will and determination to get up and write that paper, look for that opportunity, save instead of blowing it all on beer, is rare.

I know that being self-motivated is tough. To craft a life of the things you want to actually be doing is nothing short of the most insane schedule and complicated game plan you will ever set out to do. And no one will write it. It’s yours to fumble and attack and concur every day.

My advice is: Do it.

My fear in life is to be that person who has a million ideas, dreams, and wishes for the rest of their being. Write them all down no matter what you feel about them and do them today or tomorrow or next week, but just make sure you actually do them. Don’t share all of your dreams. Sometimes people can erode an idea before it has even taken its first breath. Sometimes you don’t need the reality check to stop you before you start. You never know until you have it down, it’s solid and real.

What do you want people to say about you on your 75th birthday? Okay. Good. Now go at it and good luck.


So there you have it! Obey Crochet! Go check out her site and subscribe – it’ll do your crochety heart good!

Thank you to Stephanie for agreeing to be featured on my blog! Love ya gal!


Go ahead and click a link below to “share this.”  You know you want to!  : )

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Filed under crochet, Crochet Community, Events, Humor, Interviews

Backstory: The Hook Of Desperation


This event took place about a year ago. People have heard me tell this story in person, but I’ve never written it down, until now.

It was time for our annual tag renewal on our car.  Usually I would do this at the local county annex.  I know a lot of people mail theirs in, but I’ve never been a fan of that.  I like to have my receipt and new stickers in my hot little hand when I pay.  Not wonder if they’ve been pilfered in the mail.  After all, we live in the historical district, with an old fashioned mailbox by our door.  Not one of those new-fangled group mail boxes like newer neighborhoods have.

Back to my story.  However, our county built a whole new annex for our town.  I walk in and am immediately greeted by a slick new computer terminal for me to register my name and pick the purpose for my visit from a list of three main categories.  Supposedly this isolation of the purposes for your visit, like paying for your tags, vs. filing a title, would help speed up the process.  I punch my info in, receive a number to get in line and walk into the new, bigger, better waiting room with my children and their reading books in tow. A sea of people like I’ve never seen in our town lay before me.

Arg!  Two hours later I am going crazy.  I hate waiting for long periods of nothing productive.  What a waste of a precious life.  Usually I have yarn or a book with me somewhere in the car, everywhere I go.  But not this time.  I’ve never spent that long at a tag office before, but I was late to renew as it was, so I had to stick around.

Those three purposes for my visit that I had to register and pick from?  That each entailed their own specialized number sequence, making you think there’s a line dedicated for each purpose?  Apparently served no purpose.  Instead of one list of numbers to watch for yours to come up, there were three.  And no particular teller in any order was dedicated to any of the number systems.  And out of a brand new office with 10 windows, only three were manned.

Looking up at the “serving now” number, I knew it was going to take a long time to get to me still.  I couldn’t take it anymore.  I headed out to the car.  There had to be a crochet hook somewhere out there!  I needed to do something before I just totally lost it.  But alas, though I found a bag of yarn, there was no hook.

Out of desperation I dug under a car seat and found out a pkg of Pei Wei chopsticks.  Wait! Idea percolating! There’s a file in my purse.  Holy cow, I’ll try anything at this point!

So taking my nail file to the chopstick I went to town.  And managed to produce the tiniest edge of a lip.

Having finished his book some time before, my son turned bored eyes to my hands with renewed interest.  “Mommy, can I try that?”  I had to bite back the primal hiss threatening to well up from my soul.

I said much nicer (in my outside voice)  “No honey, I’m trying to make a crochet hook.”  He continued to watch with new amusement.

I tested it out on the yarn I brought in.  Hot damn – it actually worked!  Not ideal by any means, but it actually hooked yarn!  Bwahahahaha! I felt triumphant in my rebellion.  I’m sure I probably looked like a crazed mom, sawing and huddling over my new invention.  I did not care.

It was about that time when a voice came over the loudspeaker.

“If any of you are here to renew your auto tags, you know we have a drive through…

Whut?

 

There’s a DRIVE THROUGH?!

Mother of Mary in a flight suit!  Why the hell didn’t someone say something sooner!!!!!

With that, half the room jumped up and ran out the door!

By the time I gathered our stuff and retrieved a child from the bathroom, figured out where the drive-through was hiding and pulled up, there were 10 cars in front of me.  I continued to tweak my hook and crochet.  It only took about 10 minutes for my turn and I was outta there!

Bah!  Stupid drive-through.  You should be obvious, located by the front door and painted red!

But here it is, The Hook Of Desperation.  Yes, it can be done.  Give me enough of an edge and I can crochet with anything!

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The Hook Of Desperation! And it actually works!

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Look what a file can do for you! You never know, it might be a yarnie's best friend.

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Filed under crochet, Humor

Want To See My Freebies For Craft Riot?


I’ll be participating in Austin Craft Riot a week from Saturday. It’s a great handmade show full of all sorts of goodness.  Texas crochet peeps @ObeyCrochet and @Love_evol are both going to be dropping by the show.
If you’re in the area, you should too!  Maybe watch my booth long enough to give me a bathroom break?

One of the features of this handmade show is that the first 25 people through the door each day will get a grab bag of free handmade goodies. Yes, that’s right. FREE handmade items.

Admittedly I do have mixed feelings about the words “free” and “handmade” going together in the same sentence, but it does get people in the door and it is fun to win things. Plus there will be raffles for handmade items donated by Austin Craft Riot team members as well, which helps us pay for things we need to continue to put on awesome shows.  Soooo, it’s all for the cause and part of the expense of getting a booth.

Donations for door prizes are always a bit of a quandary for me, since as a crochet artist who likes to use high-end materials, my overhead is already pretty high before even considering a donation. Not to mention I cannot compete in volume of production with someone who strings beads. Last year’s crochet magnets still took a lot of time to make, not to mention materials I don’t normally stock. Which also means time away from making what I can sell.  (And additionally takes time away from other causes near and dear to my heart.)

This year I’m donating a hand carved shawl pin for the raffle cause, thanks to Jimbo’s guidance and encouragement at Crochet @Cama (which I have yet to make).  Below are samples of the handmade freebies I put together for the Austin Craft Riot goodie bags. (Click the picture to get the slide show to play.)

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The tags?  They came from Avery’s Design & Print Online.  I had to tweak the layouts, as the template does not allow you to change the size of the tags.  I needed these in a hurry, so I just moved all the text over and trimmed off nearly an inch of red from the tags after printing so they would fit the plastic bags I’m using.  I only needed  15, so I justified speed over cost of ink.  I wouldn’t recommend this for a mass amount of product.  Still, take a look at the Avery tools and it should give you some ideas if you’re getting ready to do shows and are debating on how to tag your goods.

For more help and ideas on doing shows, you might like to read my article About Doing Craft Shows: Observations, Likes and Advantages.”  I still haven’t written part 2 for it, but perhaps I will for NaBloPoMo.


Go ahead and click a link below to “share this.”  You know you want to!  : )

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Are You Blogging About Crochet?


Because if you are, I want to hear from you.

How about Tweeting about crochet?  Likewise.  Oh and don’t forget to use the #crochet hashtag when you do.

Though I should clarify, if you’re a linker on Twitter, I probably won’t follow you back.  You gotta interact with your followers.  Sorry, that’s just what it’s all about.  (I know, if you’re new to twitter, it can be confusing. I’ll write an article on that later.)

What am I up to?  It’s developing rather organically and not clearly defined yet, but you can call it crochet conniving.  Refer back to my post Cro-pocalypse: The Rise of Crochet.  It was written tongue in cheek, but I am also somewhat serious.

Crochet suffers a deficit online, as least in the US.   Obey Crochet has also written about this.  She is not the only crocheter who thought she was alone in the world.

And more than that, there’s the average public ideas of what crochet actually is to enlighten.  Sure, doilies and granny squares are awesome.  But there’s so much more than that!  Tapestry Crochet, Tunisian Crochet, Broomstick Lace, Miniature Crochet, and Freeform Crochet, just to name a few of the many, many variations out there.

There’s just so much more.  And overall crochet is an incredibly portable craft, not to mention relaxing (ok, once you’ve got the hang of it).  AND its the only fiber art left that cannot yet be truly replicated by a machine.  Even that mass-produced stuff you see at the store, is hand created, often by children.  It behooves us to preserve this distinguishable art.

If you like crochet, join the quest to celebrate it!  😀


Did you know these are also crochet?

Go ahead and click a link below to “share this.” You know you want to! : )

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Videos from Crochet @Cama 2011!


Took me a while to figure out getting these videos to upload properly, but here are videos of Deb (CerDeb) and Don Burger’s humorous musical performance at our last potluck together.  Gathered in the Firehouse Kitchen enjoying shared food and drink.  Eh, it’s a video from a phone, so not a professional production, but hope you enjoy anyway!

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Crochet At Cama 2011 – Our Final Full Day


Wednesday was our last day of classes and activities at the Crochet Retreat at Cama Beach. Now that I have an internet connection, here are photos from the day!

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Crochet At Cama 2011 – Second Day!


Time for another photo update for our second day at Cama Beach Crochet Retreat 2011!

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Crochet At Cama 2011 – Our First Day!


As you know, everyone arrived at Cama Beach State Park for the Crochet Retreat on Sunday for check in.  We gathered, celebrated and rested.  Then Monday morning is when we all came together, shed free of the traveling wearies and serious fun began!  Here are some photos from the day.

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Crochet At Cama 2011 Happening Now – What You’re Missing!


So I’m here at Cama Beach in Washington State for Crochet at Cama 2011 Retreat!  Want to know what you’re missing?  I thought I’d make a point of sharing with you what we’re up to as best I can.  It’ll be mostly photos for now.  I can write (and format the photos) more later.  But here’s a peek at the Crochet Liberation Front Retreat right now!  (You can watch the video I created from last year’s memories here.)

Meeting at the new hall

The cabin

View out the kitchen window

The new hall and stone fireplace

Cama Beach Check in Station

The view at Cama Beach

Cabins right on the water

Everyone's gathering for the opening night

There's Karen Whooley with her cast and a cane Jimbo made her.

Jimbo made Karen a crochet hook cane!

Let the yarn tasting begin!

The view this morning

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Crochet At Cama 2010 Memories


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New Term Tuesday: American vs. European Crochet Terms


It’s frustrating when you’re trying to reproduce a cute crochet pattern you found and yet it just doesn’t look anything like the photo you saw.

The problem could be something as simple, but profoundly affective, as this: Basic American crochet terms are different from European (including British and Australian) crochet terms.

And just because you grew up in the US doesn’t mean you necessarily learned crochet vernacular according to “American Crochet Standards.” Many patterns published in America during the 1800’s and early 1900’s also used terms from standards we refer to today as European or British.

So we’ll clear that up a bit today. And if you like to collect antique crochet patterns (as I do), take note because there are terms you’ll need to watch for, no matter which side of the ocean it came from.

What influenced the differences? I’m not really sure. However, the basic stitch we call single crochet in America, for instance, is called double crochet in Europe. As you can see, discrepancies in stitch terminology such as this can make a huge difference in end results.

Reference point: Australia, the UK and Europe in general all fall under the umbrella of “European terms.” Canada and the U.S. fall under the umbrella of “American terms.” Some refer to them instead as “American/British terms” or “UK/US terms.” For the purpose of this article, and the sake of clarity, I’ve simply left it at “European vs. American.” This list comes from my notes and cross-references over the years.

Here’s a quick list of American/European terms and their counterparts:


American: chain stitch (ch)
European: chain (ch)

These terms are essentially the same everywhere.


American: slip stitch (ss)
European: slip stitch (ss); sometimes shows up as single crochet in antique patterns (sc)

I have also seen slip stitch referred to as single crochet (sc) or “single stitch” in some British patterns, especially from the late 1800’s. Additionally, I’ve seen the terms “mitten stitch” and “close joining stitch” used.


American: single crochet (sc)
European: double crochet (dc)

I have also seen this referred to as “plain stitch” in some British patterns, especially from the late 1800’s.


American: half double crochet (hdc)
European: half treble crochet (htr) or extended double crochet


American: double crochet (dc)
European: treble crochet (tc)


American: triple crochet (tr)
European: double treble crochet (dtr or dbl tr)

I have also seen this referred to as a “long stitch” in some antique patterns.


American: double triple crochet (dtr or dtrc)
European: triple treble crochet (trtr)

I have also seen this referred to as an “extra long stitch” or “long treble” in some antique patterns.


American: triple treble (trtr or trtrc)
European: quadruple treble (quadtr)


American: yarn over (yo)
European: wool round hook (wrh) or yarn over hook (yoh)


American: skip
European: miss


American: gauge
European: tension


American: bind off or fasten off
European: cast off


OK!  So these are the most common basic English terms you’ll run into out there while comparing crochet patterns from across the oceans.

Today it is pretty standard practice to print on the pattern whether the pattern is written according to American Crochet Standards or British/English/Australian/European Crochet Standards.  I list all four there, because I have seen each of these in variation.

There are also Japanese, Chinese, Croatian, Scandinavian, South American and other terms as well, not to mention universal symbol crochet.  But this will get you started with the most common terms published in English.

Thanks for reading!  If you have resources and ideas to share, feel free to post them in the comments.

Until next time then….!

Go ahead and click a link below to “share this.”  You know you want to!  : )

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A Little Ami For Baby Ally


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Visited John’s god-daughter Sat to celebrate her little one’s 1st birthday. I made a lemon-lime with flower ears for her. Forgot my safety eyes, so cross-stitched face had to do.

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Cro-pocalypse: The Rise of Crochet


When the subject of crochet comes up, and I begin to talk, it’s like a door opening to sunshine and happiness. Or sometimes, a door to a fascinating volcanic firestorm.  (Gee, what does that look like anyway?) And people always comment, “Wow, I never realized ____, and you’re so passionate about crochet!”  Usually there’s a new spark in their eyes, a little like the one in mine.

And I know I have accomplished my goal:  Infection. 

That’s what I call it.  It’s a term I coined in speech class and later applied to marketing on a shoe-string for charities.  It’s always been my secret weapon, something I’m really good at.  But all contagions have to start somewhere.

Before I can do my thing… I have to care.

How did two people start with $0, no budget and create a charity event that drew thousands of children from 10 cities, live news coverage, local celebrity appearances, and get a community together for the cause?  Even surprised the crud out of me?

Infection.

You take your vision, your passion and believe in it so much, know how to communicate effectively and show everyone, from the inside out, their own reason to be excited too.

Infection can be evil, or it can be good. I propose we have a lot to learn from viruses.  I propose that Joy is just as easy to spread as Hate, but your heart has to be in it if you are to become a Source.

Me?  So far my talent for infection has largely been used to help charities.  And I’m excited if after our conversation someone is more likely to pick up a hook or consider crochet in a new light or be even able to tell the difference between crochet and knit or even weaving.  I’m especially excited when I have demystified something. It’s been a little while since I’ve actively infected someone.

Not to sound too much like Dr. Evil or anything….

I think it’s time to set my sights on new goals and higher aspirations in crochet as an art form.  It is time to infect the internet and the world with global domination of the versatility, practicality and coolness of crochet.  I seek a cro-pocalypse.  A veritable domain of the hook, with zombie-like contagion and cult indoctrination – only without the blood, flesh craving and Kool-aid.

But let’s leave the Borg mentality out of it.  Crochet thrives best on flavors of individuality.  It is after all derived from a single, lone hook.  (Though I’m not against experimenting with two!)

It’s time fellow crocheters. Whatever it is in crochet that you love to do.  Whatever part of the large crochet umbrella you specialize in… fill your soul and infect your world!  😉

Go ahead and click a link below to “share this.”  You know you want to!  : )


If you enjoyed this article, you might also like:

12 Brilliant Ways To Create More Time To Crochet!

Help Me Travel The World To Study Hands And Crochet Hooks!


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New Term Tuesday: The Difference Between UFO’s and WIP’s (And All Manner In Between)


For today’s post, I thought I’d explain some abbreviations that you will find used in crochet and knitting circles.

The first is what is termed as a “UFO.” 

I have this theory that yarn and Sci Fi are magnetic to each other for some reason.  Perhaps it’s the popcorn. 

However, though many of us yarnies (see below) are Sci Fi geeks too, a UFO is, in yarn geek terms, an “Un-Finished Object.”

Usually this term is applied to a project that has been started, but has been set aside.  It lends to the “unknown” feeling induced by it’s Sci Fi counterpart, since a yarn related UFO has not been witnessed in its final or complete state yet.  As such, it could be “unrecognizable” to others.  It might even get lost in a closet or drawer and never become an FO (a finished object).

One of my UFO's. I doubt you'll have any idea what this really is until I finally write about it in an advanced technique article. It's stuffed in a bag somewhere, maybe already packed for the move.

However a yarn related UFO still has some sort of connection to the knowable world in that at least it’s creator knows what it is supposed to be.  If said UFO does get lost in the closet (or under the bed or a variety of other places crochet can migrate to in its maker’s home) and is later discovered, but the knowledge of what that item is supposed to be(come) has since been lost or forgotten, it’s label is now demoted to the realm of UO or URO: an Un-Recognizable (or Un-Recognized) Object.  “I started this at some point, but now I don’t know what the heck it was supposed to be.”  It happens to the best of us.  If recognition does indeed sink in, it can then go back to its UFO status.

This 5 foot tapestry project for my mother-in-law took me about 10 years to complete. The amount of times its status alternated between "UFO" and "WIP" might have actually endangered the space-time continuum.

In contrast to UFO is the term “WIP.”  A WIP is a piece that is a “work in progress.”  This means it is actively being worked on.  Or at least thought about in the forefront of the mind, such as in the case of “I’m stuck, I haven’t figured it out, but I haven’t put it aside just yet.”  The term also lends to the air of “whipping” something together, but mainly denotes progression of the creation process (as opposed to stagnation in the corner of a closet).

The amount of times a single project can go back and forth between being a UFO or a  WIP is indeed infinite. 

“Yarnies” (a term I used above) should be mostly self-explanatory.  A yarnie is someone who works with yarn.  The term usually refers to the crochet or knit modalities, and generally with a little obsession tossed in.  In other words a yarnie is a yarn geek – the person you see at the store petting all the Tribbles, what my husband calls my yarn stash. Much like the Klingons, you would think my stash was his mortal enemy.

Ahhh, and now I think we have found insight into the Sci Fi – Yarn connection! 

Another “yarnie” interpretation might borrow from the circus term “carnie” to indicate someone who knows and loves yarn so well, that they can coax it into amazing feats of entertainment.

So there you have it – new jargon for your crochet reference!

Go ahead and click a link below to “share this.”  You know you want to!  : )

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Crochet Doodle: What’s On My Hook


Well, on one of my hooks anyway. It’s basically a circle surrounded by funky interconnected loops.

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These loops are made by leaving the first stitch loop on the hook until the very end before working off

I’m exploring shapes for my pins right now. Hurt my hand last week trying to dismantle a bike gear for DD’s (darling daughter’s) steam punk ideas. So keeping it light. Kind of. I guess it’s a matter of opinion. I just realized this doodle would be considered advanced by international yarn standards.

Maybe I should take notes and write it down.

(Oh, the yarn is a boucle with elastic.)

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Here you can kind of see the loop as it naturally sticks up. Icecream anyone?

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Here's the doodle laid out with all the loops turned inside out

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Here's the same doodle, with every other (inside out) loop alternated to the center

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Here's the doodle with all loops right side out and "naturally" falling into place. Kind of looks like a carnation now. So much for octopod, but I think I have a new idea now that I can apply elsewhere.

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